Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Dick Dale and His Del-Tones - Surfers Choicedotdotdotdotdot
artworkThank you Sundazed! The vaults begin to open and expose Dick Dale's sixties archives in high quality sound. This seminal and very important album is gloriously remastered with bonus tracks added. Superb and essential!
Picks: Surf Beat, Take It Off, Miserlou Twist, Surfing Drums, Shake-N-Stomp, Death Of A Gremmie, Let's Go Trippin', Del-Tone Rock, Miserlou Twist, Eight 'Till Midnight, A Run For Life

Track by Track Review


Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Demonstrating the power of CHUNK in surf, "Surf Beat" lent it's name to the genre, and clearly is a standard. A great performance captured live at the Rendezvous Ballroom and issued in 1962. This is the embodiment of rhythm based surf chunk.

If you want to play the chords right, when the lead and rhythm both play together, the rhythm guitar would "push" the chord downward, while the lead must "pull" the chord upward - remember, Dick Dale played left handed and used a right handed guitar upside down without restringing. That meant when he pushed the chord, it was the same as pulling it. I verified this with Dick personally in '88, so there ya go.

Take It Off dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Take It Off" is from the Rendezvous and the Surfers Choice album. It has Dick's heavy slightly reverbed sound, and it's quite the party surf cruncher.

Miserlou Twist dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This live performance of "Miserlou" is superb, if only you overlook the violins that were overdubbed later. Perhaps one day the undubbed tape will surface. Dick's superb playing and the immediacy of the live band are quite powerful.

Surfing Drums dotdotdotdot
R&B Surf (Vocal)

This mostly instrumental track is from the Surfers Choice LP on Del-tone (later reissued on Capitol as part of their deal with Dick). It was recorded live at the Rendezvous Ballroom in '62, and is actually a cover of Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth," lyrics and all. It's a great glimpse into those long lost times in Balboa when Dick was King and the big Surf sound was just dawning. A great track. It's too bad that it fades out during the drum solo, but I suspect it segues into some other tune. Dick also recorded a version as a single called "Jungle Fever" with voiced monkey calls, as well as performed it live in the early nineties as "Jungle Bunnies" with the same voiced calls.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Del-tone session is an early double picked track, before "Miserlou" as a single, but from the same period live. This track is often assumed to have been recorded at the Rendezvous, but reportedly was recorded at a small studio. Good grindage.

Death Of A Gremmie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Recorded at the Rendezvous Ballroom and from the Surfers Choice album, this ranks as one of the best early pre surf ominous R&B instros, piano oriented, and very sad. Bitchin'!

Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's August 1961 recording of "Let's Go Trippin'" is ahead of the surf sound, more a rock 'n' roll number than what would be later identified as surf. It is nevertheless a very important key to the development of the genre.

Dick's original Del-tones were a hell of a band. This session featured a seasoned Barry Rillera on sax, who had been in his brother Ricky Rillera's band the Rhythm Rockers (no relation to the surfband of that name), with whom Richard Berry had sung for over a year at Harmony Park between 1954 and 1955. It was at Harmony Park one Saturday night in 1955 that Richard heard them do Rene Touzet's "El Loco Cha Cha" for the first time, and was inspired by it's "duh duh duh, duh-duh" intro to write "Louie Louie."

Del-Tone Rock dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Del-Tone Rock" was the B-side of "Let's Go Trippin'" from the Del-tone days. It displays the tradition rock 'n' roll roots Dick Dale's early instro sound was born of, and also foretells the soon to be born surf sound. It also helps clarify the residency of the original version of "Let's Go Trippin'" on the pre-surf side of the boundary. A very fine track.

Miserlou Twist dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This live performance of "Miserlou" is superb, if only you overlook the violins that were overdubbed later. Perhaps one day the undubbed tape will surface. Dick's superb playing and the immediacy of the live band are quite powerful.

Eight 'Till Midnight dotdotdotdot
R&B Surf (Instrumental)

"Eight Till Midnight" was never included on an album, but was the b-side of "Miserlou." It's a very cool R&B theme song for the Rendezvous gigs. Memorable and poppy.

A Run For Life dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The early Del-tone single version of the song that became "The Wedge," with the Del-tones as the band, and with Dick playing trumpet leads. It's way hokey at times, and gives you a clear glimpse at the difference between the history and sound surf music as you know it and the "world according to Dick Dale."